Your Social Selling Strategy Is Broken

At the heart of most social selling strategies are poisonous ideas. Concepts that “experts” claim are best practices — that actually decrease chances of earning buyers’ business. Ideas like: Never cold call. Cold calling is interrupting you customer. It’s wrong, you shouldn’t do it.

Both sides probably have valid points of view and goals. But each side’s strengths are being lost in a cloud of negative feelings. This is often combining with pressure on the sales team to perform.

This is where having an effective digital communications technique makes all the difference. Being armed with sharper hunting tools is key.

Being a Trusted Expert Is Not a Strategy

Joining conversations and contributing value — without expectation or trying to sell yourself — will generate sales leads on LinkedIn. Right?

Not really.

Being seen as a trusted expert by your customers is the outcome of an effective sales strategy. It’s a sign that your communication technique is working. It’s not the strategy.

Giving first without expectation often results in wasted time and lack of leads.

There. I said it.

Yes, you do need to give-give-give to get in this world. However, by structuring conversations to help customers understand why they want to talk with you they’ll be more inclined to talk.

Are you providing incentive for prospects to talk about themselves when communicating? Are you reaching beyond being relevant to a problem or goal — being provocative?

Spark Conversations With Incentives

The more customers talk about themselves the faster they discover “why I want to talk with that sales rep.” Whether it’s in a LinkedIn Group or in an InMail. The more they talk about their challenges, hopes and ambitions the more they begin to:

  • Understand if they’re willing to change (at all)
  • See investing in you (changing) as a path to stability and excellence
  • Experience your advice and assign value to it

Give them an incentive. For example, help them discover something that’s missing. Then, ask if they’re willing to do something with this new found knowledge. Force the issue of the status quo.

Help them see how damaging lack of change is — and see the disruption change causes as a path toward excellence and stability.

Social Selling vs. Social Prospecting

“The curriculum for many social selling programs is not in line with what really needs to happen,” says Innarino. He’s right.

Most social selling initiatives ground sellers in marketing concepts and tactics like personal branding, sharing valuable content. Farming activities that cannot be reliably correlated to prospecting outcomes.

Today’s top sellers are applying an outbound communications technique grounded in direct response marketing. That’s great news. Because DM concepts may already be familiar to some on your sales and marketing teams.

For example, sparking curiosity about the various solutions you offer… by using a “less is more” approach to communicating … attracts buyers to asking for more details.

It always has.

Just like on a first date. Reveal too much, too fast to a good prospect? You’ll rarely get asked-out.

Most sellers are offering too many details too fast in their hunting approaches. For example, when using LinkedIn InMail. Instead, a slower, attraction-focused communications process helps buyers get curious about what you’re selling.

This way they self-qualify/disqualify themselves.

Beware the Gurus and Trends

What’s at the heart of your social selling initiative? Is your team practicing a strategy that actually decreases chances of earning buyers’ business?

For example, LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index (SSI) is based on “social selling busywork” ideas. The more updates, the more connection-making, the more posts… the more raw activity on LinkedIn, the better “social seller” you are.

LinkedIn’s SSI doesn’t factor in productivity. By design it cannot. Yet the rush is on to get those SSI scores up! Pound away at prospects on LinkedIn. Turn up the volume!

What do you think?

Author: Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander is the authority on making social media sell. He co-founded what became the Google Affiliate Network and Performics Inc., where he built the sales team. Today, he is the authority on effective prospecting communications techniques as founder of Communications Edge Inc. (formerly Molander & Associates Inc.) He's been in sales for over 2 decades. He is author of the first social selling book, Off the Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You.Jeff is a sales communications coach and creator of the Spark Selling technique—a means to spark more conversations with customers "from cold," speeding them toward qualification.

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